Today (Monday 29th July) I find myself restored to normality with a bit of time to think.I now realise that I failed to post in the blog that we completed the mission successfully and arrived back at St Pancras on schedule. Thanks go to Mark for the planning, Paul for the photos and all of the guys for their excellent company as we travelled the length and breadth of Europe. Special mention to Darren and his data connection which allowed blogging when there was no wifi option.
My delay in concluding things has been due to an exceptional few days after getting back to London. The highlights included the Ian Dury exhibition at the RCA, Sir John Soane's Museum on Lincoln's Inn Fields (a sort of Burrell Collection squeezed into a town house), a ride on the cable car from Royal Victoria to North Greenwich - a brilliant way to see the East End, the Docklands Light Railway (not the Bernina but it does wind its way through the skyscrapers in a rather spectacular fashion), a convivial lunch in Greenwich Market, a train ride from London to Edinburgh in a First Class coach with no air-con - even sweatier than the Trenhotels, a flood in our garage and a Sunday lunchtime blues concert at a Highland village hall featuring a band
called Harmonica Lewinsky with a real ale bar thrown in for good measure. Sis in law June arranged this last event. Excellent choice.
What have I discovered? That whatever the Scottish Tourist Board tell me there is scenery elsewhere (apart from Sweden). That grappa deserves its current place in the hierarchy of spirits drinking. That municipal bathing facilities are something worth preserving. That it is possible to watch Ashes cricket in Bucharest. That smorgastarta is enjoyable in moderation. That roast goose leg is a wonderful dish. That FYR Macedonia probably has the cheapest beer in Europe. That a decent cup of tea is a great treat. That my towel needs to be bigger. That sardines are smaller in Venice. That I snore but it is curable. I have also seen some fascinating parts of Eastern Europe which would probably justify a more sedate visit.
Der Fuhrer is now working up the next epic. Six weeks plus crossing Europe, then Asia and finally exploring Japan by train. If the pong from my rucsack is anything to go by a compulsory laundry stop every 2 weeks should be a must.
Six weeks of cheese and cured meats. Who could possibly turn that down?
Further reading :